Here is my expert opinion on some weightlifting bars you may be considering. My opinion is based on both personal experience and the experience of my peers.
I have them ranked in order from best to worst based on thesee qualities: Knurling, bar spin, bar flex, and durability. Take these notes in consideration before making an investment.
Eleiko– The knurling on this bar is pretty sharp as a warning but when you’re lifting heavy weights, it’s a necessity. I actually like having a sharp knurling but, during a heavy volume cycle, it kinda beats up your hands. Bar spin is good. Bar flex is pretty good. Maintenance is required to keep the bar in good shape but, the bar has a really good warranty.
Eusaka– I would probably tie this bar at #1 with Eleiko. Knurling is good but chalk needs to be cleared off more frequently than the Eleiko bar. Flex is good. Bar spin is pretty good and by some miracle, does not need to be lubricated like an Eleiko bar. Lasts a long time. Bar is made in a small factory with less than four employees so you know the attention to detail is there, which I appreciate.
Weksan– Werksan pretty much tries to copy Eleiko, in my opinion, which is one of the reasons why I am ranking them lower. I don’t have too much experience lifting on their bars except competitions. They seem to be ok for the most part. Bar spin, knurling and flex is good. I have them ranked so low mostly because of what I witnessed at the 2010 World Championships in Turkiye, The small weights. 5 kgs and under, did not fit the bar properly. You had to jam the weights onto the bar and they were barely on. This made warm up for the competition particularly difficult. More importantly, it was a dangerous situation for the competitors on the competition platform. The loaders had little bowls of lubricant which they used to brush the bar with so the weights could be put on. One of the lifters had the weights start to slip off the bar and he ended up missing his 3rd attempt, dropping the weight onto one of the officials computers because of this error. He was allowed a 4th attempt but, missed that one as well. This was a gross lack of attention to detail. How do you not test the weights to make sure they fit the bar?
York– I think the knurling is good. The men’s bar had pretty good spin but the women’s, not so much. We had a couple of incidents where two of our men’s bars broke clean off (said in a dirty harry voice) right at the sleeve with only 50 and 70 kgs. The customer service to deal with this situation was pretty terrible.
Rogue– For it’s purpose, rogue does the job. I haven’t really heard of actual big lifts being lifted on this bar, nor have I lifted on one but, it’s a cheap bar. So for someone starting out, or a crossfit type situation where you can get a lot of bars to bang around, this is for you. If you want a bar that will probably last you your entire career and handle big lifts, this bar is not for you.
DHS– Bar spin is amazing. Knurling is not very good. I cannot recommend this bar at all based on the testimonials I have gotten on this product. It was used in Beijing for the Olympics and I heard after almost ever session, the bars had to be replaced because they were bent so bad. Most high quality bars are going to be tested with a pressure/flex type usually with at least 1,000 lbs to make sure it can handle the lifting. Last time I checked, no one has snatched or clean and jerked 1,000 lbs so there is no excuse for the bar to bend. I have also heard from a friend that when he was squatting 300 kgs, the bar literally snapped in half. Based on what I heard, this bar is pretty dangerous. Can’t recommend it.